YouTube has helped us show what we do, so we spend less time talking and sending emails.
The Doans founded Black Leg Ranch in North Dakota back in 1882, with a dream of raising the first Black Angus Cattle in the region. Six generations later, their descendants still sell beef and buffalo meat grown on the 20,000-acre ranch. They’ve also branched out beyond ranching to add an on-site event space, tours, a hunting outfit, and a brewery. “Our family is known for taking risks,” says Jeremy Doan, who co-owns the ranch with his dad and brothers. “In our community, small businesses are the driving force for jobs, for paying the taxes on the land, and keeping generations coming back.”
The Doans have used digital tools for decades, changing strategies along the way. Jeremy says video is now an important way to generate excitement and reach a new generation of customers. The ranch creates YouTube videos of visitors and events to share in their newsletters; the videos have been seen a half-million times so far, and generate 10 percent of their yearly business. “YouTube has helped us show what we do, so we spend less time talking and sending emails,” Jeremy says. “People share our YouTube videos with their friends and family. People come to us and say ‘Hey, I want to do exactly what they did in the video.’” Online search has also helped them fill gaps during slower seasons, boosting sales by an extra 10 percent a year. “If we have bison or deer hunts that aren't selling, we just post a Google Ad to target certain keywords and consumers. Typically we fill those spots within a few days,” says Jeremy. He says experimenting with ways to reach customers allows them to keep building and bettering Black Leg Ranch. “Hopefully this will keep it fun for future generations and profitable at the same time.”